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It's no secret that Mad Men has inspired a nationwide renaissance of classic, American-inspired cocktails (heck, AMC even dedicated an entire webpage to cocktails featured on the show). In honor of the two-hour season premier this Sunday, we've gone ahead and compiled a list of the top Manhattan hotel bars serving Mad Men-inspired drinks. Whom you invite back up to your hotel room afterward is entirely up to you.
One of our favorite chi-chi hideouts in New York is The Peninsula, whose second-floor Gotham Lounge offers seven different martinis. Alternatively, show off your insider knowledge and ask for the Ning Sling ($24, pictured), which consists of Absolut Mandarin, Soho Lychee liqueur, lychee and passion fruit juices, and fresh mint leaves—the drink is so exclusive, it isn't even listed on the menu.
Five more cocktails after the jump!
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An India-based company that specializes in designing bars for high-end hotels throughout New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore (including ITC Maurya, where Obama stayed during a visit in 2010) has come up with a new concept that's sure to catch people's attention: a fully-equipped personal bar for hotel suites.
The nifty "BarTrender Pro" basically whittles down all the elements of a high-end hotel bar—cocktail mixing station, built-in refrigeration, dual zone wine preservation, separate storage for glasses and bottles—into one compact, fully integrated unit.
Just looking at it, we get the sense that even ignoramuses like us who have never bartended a day in our lives (save for once, during college, which was a failure on all accounts) would be able to slap together a half-decent beverage. With the bar's attractive smooth surfaces and backlit shelves, at the very least, we'd look good doing it!
The bar has been on display at multiple showrooms in Jasola and Mumbai, and plenty of folks have expressed interest in buying a unit for themselves, but the company's chief designer said that production is still being limited to two hundred per year. He went on:
"These are prized possessions, and we plan sell limited numbers each year per region. Luxury hotel chains have considered the bar for their suites."
What do you think? Is this something you would use if it showed up in your hotel room? Or would you rather just head downstairs and order a drink the good old-fashioned way? Let us know your thoughts below!
Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what bartender, Nicholas James, from Stingray Lounge at QT Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.
HotelChatter: How many years have you been in the industry and time at Stingray?
Nicholas James: 5 years in the industry, and coming up to nearly one year at Stingray.
HC: What type of formal training do you have?
NJ: I have studied and worked alongside some of Australia’s most recognized and award winning industry professionals in and around Sydney’s small bars, pubs and restaurants.
HC: With such an extensive list of creative cocktails, what is your least favorite to make; the one you go 'really? I have to make that?' but still do it with a smile?
Though it's only been open several months, Hotel Monaco Philly is already the hottest ticket in town, as far as rooftops are concerned. The hotel's 11th floor Stratus has become legendary for its outdoor patio, indoor bar, two private lounge areas, and outdoor fireplace*.
Most days of the week, it's possible to head up to Stratus, enjoy a few cocktails and be on your merry way. But the lines to get in on Friday and Saturday can get pretty long, and once you enter the bar, it can be difficult just finding a seat.
As a result, Monaco will soon start issuing membership cards just to access the bar. We heard from an employee that a designated number of seats will be set aside each night for card-holders. Of course, hotel guests get priority automatically, but when it comes to random people walking in off the street, Stratus members will definitely have the upper hand.
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Menus are great and all, but sometimes you want to feel like you're ordering something really special. We hunted around for Manhattan's best "secret" hotel cocktails. You won't find any of these listed on the menu, but they exist alright. Now, can you keep a secret?
Upstairs at The Chatwal, the red leather booths and jazz trio humming along in the corner certainly set the mood, but our favorite part about the Lambs Club bar is definitely the cocktails. Next time you go, try something different and order the Guillermo Wallace ($18), a tangy blend of Milagro Blanco tequila, lime, grapefruit, honey, a spritz of peated Scotch and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Yes, part of this cocktail's charm is watching the bartender add the final 'spritz and a sprinkle'—the other part is drinking it!
3 more off-the-menu cocktails after the jump!
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SMAK Bar's Bloody Mary at Hotel Madeline
We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Drinks Then Dinner
What’s In: Dinner in Your Drinks
These days hotel bars are getting all fancy with their cocktails. Prize mixologists are like rock stars in the bevvie world. It’s a given now that the best hotel bars make their own syrups and infuse their own spirits, so what’s next? Well, some bartenders are thinking that it may be time to bring back the liquid lunch, although some of these drinks aren’t only liquid...
Lantern’s Keep (love the name!) at the Iroquois Hotel New York is an intimate cocktail salon located inside the historic Theater District hotel. Here's the kicker--you can only enter the dimly-lit watering hole if the lantern outside the bar is glowing. If you’re there at night and have one-too-many of the Stay Up Late cocktails, you might just want to show up the next day for the Golden Breakfast, made up of gin, lime, cucumber slices, Worcester sauce, hot sauce and the final ingredient--an egg yolk.
We recently saddled up to Cava 15 at the Trump Ocean Club in Panama. While sipping on a (what else?) Panama beer, we struck up a conversation with the bartender, who went by Jack the Ripper. Out chat went something like this…
HotelChatter: So, being a hotel bartender and all, we're guessing you like to drink?
Jack the Ripper: Yes, but I don't like to overdo it. I only drink to enjoy.
HC: That's very wise. When did you decide that?
JTR: Well, I used to work on cruise ships, quite far from Panama, far from my country. I'd be gone eight months at a time, and when I came home, I discovered that after two or three drinks, I didn't want anymore. My body rejected it, you know? So I said, 'No more. I feel disgusting, I feel heavy.' Two or three drinks, and that's it.
HC: Which cruise line did you work for?
JTR: Costa. It's an Italian cruise line
HC: Isn't that the one that capsized near Tuscany last year?
Continue reading after the jump!
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Here's a first look at the new lobby bar and lounge area inside Pod 39. The venue is called Play Room and it's a huuuge space with a fireplace, two ping pong tables, color-coded bookshelves, a video projector, stained glass windows, and a 25-foot butcher block bar. Pretty much everything we look for in a hotel lobby hangout area.
Though the hotel debuted its rooftop bar back in September, it's taken this long for the street-level space to come together (sounds like they've got their priorities straight over at Pod!). But we think it was worth the wait. Pod Hotels put serious emphasis on socializing, so it makes sense that their public space would be so big and captivating—in many ways, more so than the first Pod hotel.
Here are our five favorite things about the new space:
The folks at Hilton Sydney unveiled their latest incarnation--a themed cocktail lounge. The hotel's Zeta Bar has been transformed into 'The Secret Garden' with a modern twist, and of course inventive drinks.
The bar itself is quite known locally as one of the best cocktail lounges and with a group of masterminds and mixologists, the hot bar comes alive with it's latest them that is based on the beloved children's novel. From happy hour on a Friday night to the wee hours of the morning, the lounge gets an overhaul with garden furniture, trees, beautifully manicured lawns and models covered in bodyart to host the city's hip crowd ready to mingle.
You better believe the drinks are part of them if each master bartender is tasked with creating a special cocktail for the concept bar. Alcoholic Jell-O and Bellini popsicles all create a wonderland that is a feast for the senses as much for the eyes. If you're looking to sample as a pair, the Tweedle Dum would suit; the gin-based cocktail is topped with Limoncello and sparkling wine and is served up in a smoking tea-pot.
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Taylor Swift has made a career out of writing songs about ex-boyfriends so now that her latest relationship with boybander Harry Styles of One Direction has bit the dust, all the tweens of the world are anticipating the Harry diss track. And we have some intel on just what this song might include.
According to our hotel spies, Taylor had the NIOS bar at The Muse Hotel in Times Square closed down over New Year's Eve so the duo could hang out in private. This was after their very public kiss at midnight when the ball dropped. Not only was the bar closed to everyone else but it stayed open way past closing time. (And um, nevermind that 18-year-old Harry isn't old enough to drink in the U.S.)
A TripAdvisor reviewer even corroborates the Swift sighting in case you don't believe us. As for what Taylor might sing about in her break-up song, perhaps she'll mention the floor-to-ceiling wine wall. Or not. Maybe she won't even sing about Harry and the Muse Hotel at all. In fact, we might just prefer that. It's time for some different kind of songs Taylor!
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Not only is it Friday, but apparently it’s National Margarita Day, too! Seriously, we think people just make half these celebrations up, but this one we can get with, even though we think margaritas are best served with sunshine and high temps. But no matter, we're good sports.
To honor this "holiday", hotel bars around the country are rolling out their best margs. Naturally some are getting fancy with the fixins, while others refuse to mess with the original recipe--tequila, triple sec and lime.
Here are a few versions that caught our eye and have us chomping at the bit for quittin' time. Although, didn't someone say it's always 5 o'clock somewhere?
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Mercy it's cold outside and your usual champers does nothing to warm them bones. We'll get into all the Hot Toddy and Chocolate goodness out there soon, but for now, we want to focus on El Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City, Why? Because we need to distract the hell out of ourselves and these frigid temps.
Plus, we like nothing more to amuse y'all. So when you go to your favorite watering hole tonight (that is if you aren't the lucky SOB's already in Mexico) we challenge you to ask them to serve a lil something like this:
It's called "The Grasshopper" and it's barrel aged mezcal, accompanied by fresh orange and a trio of salts: hibiscus (sal de jamaica), grasshopper (sal de chapulines), and worm (sal de gusano). Yeah, two of these have your eyes crinkled, fo sho. But wait, it's actually good for you!
High in protein, vitamins and minerals content, grasshoppers, or chapulines have been used as a Mexican food source for centuries (we love 'em in guacamole!). If you order a mescal at El Bar, your drink will probably be accompanied by grasshopper salt. Buggin' out by this? Ok, perhaps Chef Edgar Kano's worm salt is a better fit. The savory blend is made from worms that live on the maguey plant, from which tequila and mezcal come from. And don't say you don't like your tequila! We know better. You'll find the salt in his tangy guacamole and sauces.
See? We distracted you from the cold for a few minutes. Job done.
[Photo: Four Seasons Hotels]